The students at Lockerbie Academy in Scotland have seen too many traffic accidents in their area! They are thankful that this is now changing, because the “Be a Road Safety Investigator” course that has come to their school is helping students to be safer drivers.
When a TV programme about the problems of rural roads was based on the very roads around Lockerbie Academy, the students and teachers knew they had to do something – and they are. Thanks to a grant from The Royal Society, they’ve been able to invite the ‘Be a Road Crash Investigator’ programme to come to their school.
In preparation for the programme, the students in class S1 discussed various road safety issues like the need for cars in rural areas, the risks associated with driving, the problem of wanting to be environmentally-friendly but living long distances from shops and buildings, the dangers of speeding, and the problem that students have a poor concept of stopping distance and don’t have much knowledge of road safety in general.
They especially focused on the fact that students at their school generally need to be able to drive around the area as soon as they are old enough, because public transport links are poor. Many students live out on farms in rural areas and they can only get a bus to school and later from school – there are no others all day long.
The students also talked a great deal about the different reasons why rural roads have been shown to be some of the most dangerous. In the last few years, they have lost too many students to fatal car accidents – about one person each year.
The students appreciate that they’ve had the good fortune to be able to take part in the “Be a Road Safety Investigator” programme, so they wanted to organize their own awareness-raising initiative to share what they are learning with others in their community.
The knowledge they are gaining is very unique. The ‘Be a Road Crash Investigator’ programme brings road crash investigators into the classroom, and brings students to the scenes of local accidents - almost. The investigator and his team use high tech equipment to re-create crash sites of real accidents that happened in the area, complete with tire skid marks are video recorded testimonies of the “witnesses”. Then he works with the students to go through the entire process of collecting evidence, analyzing it, and piecing it together to determine how the accident happened, and why. Often times, the cause is related to inexperience and youthfulness, creating a powerful impact on the students.
They will later share their experiences through the awareness raising campaign, which will begin once students have been through several accident simulations and have acquired enough information and experience to offer really valuable insight. Then they will be able to take what they’ve learned to public events to get others involved. Through the campaign, they would most of all like to share the message that everyone needs to be responsible for their actions on the road and drive more carefully.